You know when you work really hard for something and then you actually (maybe surprisingly) get it?
That’s basically what happened today for Bengals rookie safety Jessie Bates who went from first-man-off-the-bench to starter when Cincinnati parted ways with long-time starting safety George Iloka.
Iloka had been helping to develop the second round pick out of Wake Forest up until his release on Sunday.
It’s hard watching @George_iloka leave today...You have taught me so much in the short amount of time we had together & I will forever be grateful for your investment in me bro! Whatever team signs you is getting a hell of a player & a even better man. Respect ✊ #BELIEVE— Jessie Bates III (@jlbiii3) August 19, 2018
Iloka is such a good guy that after he was released, he still attended a children’s hospital visit with members of the team, something he didn’t need to do as he’s no longer a Bengals player. But that’s the kind of guy Iloka is.
Bates publicly shared a parting message to Iloka who he says taught him “so much in the short amount of time” they had together. Bates also said the team that signs Iloka is “getting a hell of a player and even better man.”
One team that may be interested in Iloka is the Cowboys, who the Bengals just beat in Arlington on Saturday.
Internal discussions going on with the Cowboys about the safety position a source told @TheAthleticDFW George Iloka name has come up, but nothing serious as of now.— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) August 19, 2018
Additionally, the Raiders and Chargers could make sense as landing points for the former Bengals safety. The Raiders make sense because of the Paul Guenther connection; Guenther is now the defensive coordinator in Oakland. The Chargers could make sense because they just lost a safety due to injury in this weekend’s preseason action.
#Chargers S Jaylen Watkins suffered a torn ACL last night based on the initial tests, source said. Tough loss for LAC, as Watkins was having a strong preseason and started for them last night.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 19, 2018
It’s a tough day for Iloka, but a big one for Bates who is now among a very small group of Bengals defensive rookies during the Marvin Lewis era to start in Week 1. Times are changing, friends.
Will this be the right call for the Bengals?
Did the Bengals make the right move cutting George Iloka?
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